NSA Complained It Wasn't Able To Spy Enough; Sought To Broaden Its Power

from the no,-seriously dept

Late on Friday, the NY Times reported on more from the Ed Snowden documents, highlighting how the NSA was whining internally that it didn't have enough power, and outlining how it planned to get even more. Because, apparently, spying on nearly everyone just wasn't enough. No, the NSA was fairly explicit in wanting to get rid of the "nearly" qualifier in that last sentence. Its goal was to be able to spy on "anyone, anytime, anywhere" and it didn't want anything like pesky little "laws" or "civil liberties" to get in the way of that goal.
Written as an agency mission statement with broad goals, the five-page document said that existing American laws were not adequate to meet the needs of the N.S.A. to conduct broad surveillance in what it cited as “the golden age of Sigint,” or signals intelligence. “The interpretation and guidelines for applying our authorities, and in some cases the authorities themselves, have not kept pace with the complexity of the technology and target environments, or the operational expectations levied on N.S.A.’s mission,” the document concluded.

Using sweeping language, the paper also outlined some of the agency’s other ambitions. They included defeating the cybersecurity practices of adversaries in order to acquire the data the agency needs from “anyone, anytime, anywhere.” The agency also said it would try to decrypt or bypass codes that keep communications secret by influencing “the global commercial encryption market through commercial relationships,” human spies and intelligence partners in other countries. It also talked of the need to “revolutionize” analysis of its vast collections of data to “radically increase operational impact.”
Once again, we see that the claims from the NSA that it's concerned about "protecting" people from "cybersecurity" issues are completely bogus. The goal is and has always been to weaken cybersecurity wherever possible. There's much more in the article about the NSA's plans and capabilities, but those two paragraphs above seem to make the key points: the NSA has a ton of power and is constantly scheming to get more, even if laws are currently blocking that ability. Furthermore, it wants to make us all less safe in its efforts to reach that goal.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: nsa, power, surveillance

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread

  1. icon
    RyanNerd (profile), 25 Nov 2013 @ 7:59am

    In search of more power the NSA went to Utah...

    and found that cheap electric power is not the best kind of power.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.